Mental Health: Fact or Myth?

There are many common misconceptions floating around about the impact and management of mental health. In order to dispel some of these misconceptions, here are 5 statements about mental health which are either a ‘FACT’ or a ‘MYTH’.

1) Mental health affects everyone

FACT

Often, people think that mental health = mental illness, but this isn’t true. Just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health, and it is important to look after both.

It is just as easy to fall ill with the flu as it is to have your mental health deteriorate, and around 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

2) Physical health issues are worse than mental health issues

MYTH

Yes, breaking your leg is extremely painful, but mental health problems can be just as painful, if not more so. Just because you can’t see someone’s mental health problem doesn’t mean it is any less harmful than a physical health problem.

Cases of mental ill-health such as depression or anxiety can cause an individual large amounts of pain and distress. Such pain can be just as severe and uncomfortable as any physical pain.

3) You only need to look after your mental health if you have a mental illness

MYTH

Your mental health can quickly fall without notice, and it is important to maintain good mental health to prevent illness.

If you knew your family had a history of high cholesterol, you’d likely take measures to reduce the chances of developing it yourself. In the same vain, if your family has a history of anxiety, it is equally important for you to take certain steps to manage anxiety and prevent illness.

4) People with mental illnesses can have successful careers

FACT

A 2014 study found that 60-70% of people with common mental illnesses (such as depression and anxiety) are in work. Chances are, you work with someone who is currently experiencing a mental illness.

However, there is still major discrimination against people with mental illnesses, and only around 20% of people with a severe mental illness are employed, compared to 65% of people with physical health problems.

5) Children don’t experience mental health problems

MYTH

1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem at any one time, around 3 in every classroom. Around half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 18.

Children absolutely experience mental health problems, and it is imperative that measures are taken to protect children from experiencing a mental illness where possible.

The topic of mental health is still under-vocalised in this country. Katie Buckingham of Altruist Enterprises has done much in the way of improving public awareness of the importance of managing your mental health. Katie has been nominated for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017, and will greatly appreciate your vote.

1. To vote for Katie, please visit https://www.the-sse.org/SEYA
2. You can also text ‘SEYA17 Katie’ to 82228.

If you're looking to raise employee awareness of mental health facts and myths in an informal way, why not run a Corporate Wellness Lunch and Learn session? We also run Online Mental Health Lunch and Learns.

Douglas is a student intern at Altruist Enterprises. He is currently studying an MA in English Language and Applied Linguistic at the University of Birmingham. Douglas has a passion for marketing, and has completed a digital marketing course alongside studying for his MA qualification. He is glad to be given the opportunity to apply what he has learned from this course to help an organisation with such a worthwhile cause.

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